Tag Archives: NESN

Love-scorned Wally the Green Monster publicly shuns NESN’s Jenny Dell on Truck Day™

NESN on-field reporter Jenny Dell knew that the backlash was coming. But she couldn’t have known just how deep or just how real things would get. And spring training hasn’t even officially begun.

News of Dell and Boston third baseman Will Middlebrooks’ romantic relationship became official last month. Amidst calls for Dell to be fired due to a conflict of interest, the reporter has been heaped a fair helping of criticism, all the while taking it in stride without creating any additional stir with any response. NESN subsequently moved her off the on-field reporting duties, for which her popularity has soared since she got the job prior to the 2012 season.

During a sitdown with Jenny Dell last October, Wally seemed to become distracted right from the get-go.

During a sitdown with Jenny Dell last October, Wally seemed to become distracted right from the get-go.

Unfortunately, thanks to an uncomfortable incident in which the Red Sox team mascot turned a cold shoulder to Dell during Saturday’s Truck Day™, she is coming to more fully realize the downfalls to being a bombshell reporter.

Sources tell Fenway Pastoral that sometime Saturday morning, Dell approached Wally the Green Monster about doing a lighthearted interview segment as part of NESN’s expansive Truck Day™ coverage.

Wally, a source confirmed, brushed his shoulder briskly as though cleaning off a bit of lint with one of his large, oversized paws, utterly dismissing Dell’s overture. Then he sauntered away.

All this comes just over four months after Wally nearly broke his 16-year silence by granting Dell an exclusive interview for NESN.com.

Media experts who initially called for Dell’s dismissal from NESN feel she’s simply being served her just desserts.

“It’s Truck Day and Jenny can’t get the team mascot to talk to her. God, that is embarrassing! This is really just Jenny taking her medicine,” spat one media guru, struggling to contain his excitement.

Many believe Wally grew his beard last summer in order to "keep up with Middlebrooks."

Many believe Wally grew his beard last summer in order to “keep up with Middlebrooks” in his lovesick quest for Dell’s affection.

“I say ‘Good for Wally’!” another expert said. “He’s just drawing a line in the sand on this and I commend him for it. I’ve heard that Jenny’s been leading the poor furry little thing on for two years. Now, it looks like the ol’ shoe is on the other proverbial over-sized, green plush foot if you know what I mean.”

However, people who have been around the team say Wally has had a hopeless crush on Dell since she was hired by NESN and that having to hear about her relationship with Middlebrooks over Twitter was the last, galling straw that broke the creature’s back.

(Fenway Pastoral also notes that Wally has a somewhat checkered past when it comes to his relationship with network talent vis a vis this 2011 story about his odd affection for Jade McCarthy, who left NESN for ESPN shortly thereafter: Wally the Green Monster Sends Lewd Text Message to NESN’s Jade McCarthy).

“I don’t want to say Jenny led him on or anything,” said a team official. “But, yeah, it’s possible he misconstrued her interview requests and photo ops with him as something more intimate. Look, Ms. Dell is a very attractive woman and sometimes, in the throes of love, we delude ourselves.”

The Sox mascot had only this to say through his spokesmen: “I admit it. I’m hurt. I’ve heard a lot of people say I’m not a real player even though I wear a Red Sox uniform, walk around on the field before games, and show up to charity events and birthday bases. I’m more or less one of Jenny’s coworkers. We’re both team employees. She owed me better than to do me like that. Things between us will never be the same again.”

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Jenny Dell’s request for Fenway Park PA announcer tryout has front office squirming

To the chagrin of both the Red Sox and NESN executives, Jenny Dell, seen in this NESN.com file photo doing her trademark pose, has thrust her hat into the ring of contestants vying to become Fenway’s next PA announcer.

The tall task of replacing the late Red Sox PA announcer Carl Beane continues Thursday night when Jon Meterparel of WEEI takes a shot at transforming his “Sports Flash” voice into a “Now Batting” baritone at the Fenway Park loudspeaker.

However, radio personalities are apparently not the only ones that believe they could become the next Beane or even, perhaps someday, the legendary Sherm Feller.

According to several organizational insiders, NESN on-field reporter Jenny Dell would also like to audition for the role.

Per decree by Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, tryouts are supposed to be by invitation only. However, Dell has made her expectations quite clear to enough people in the front office that Red Sox brass is becoming increasingly uncomfortable by the day with the prospect of giving her a flat-out ‘No Thank You.’

Dell, presumably tired of the immature catcalls and lecherous looks from perverts in the first-baseline box seats, likely views Beane’s vacant slot as her only ticket out of the stuffy confines of the camera well near Tarp Alley.

However, as one mole in the front office pointed out, “Let’s not be cruel about this or anything. But Jenny’s ‘Around the League’ reports can be a bit…laborious…”

Measuring his words carefully earlier this week, Lucchino seemed to agree. “We just aren’t sure that, how do I put this, her on-camera, um, charisma will appeal to people, you know…solely in an an an… aural sense.”

Said another official within the organization, “Look, everyone’s been real nice about this whole thing so far. We all watch her on NESN and gush over her conservatively managed beauty. And we’re happy she’s maintained a skin-to-shirt ratio that would make Nick Punto’s batting average look gaudy. But honestly, somebody’s going to have to man up on this and tell her the truth even if that means offending an employee of our sister company.”

So far, though, the prospect of turning Dell down has proven more difficult to carry out in practice than it sounds in theory.

“John Henry took her out to a nice dinner at Capital Grille the other night with the intention of politely saying no. We fed him this great euphemism about how you wouldn’t use your best outfielder as a designated hitter,” said one insider with knowledge of the proceedings. “But he got back to Fenway Park and couldn’t look anybody in the eye. He just had this, this stare. Then we found him several hours later in a trance just staring through a picture of the NESN logo like it was the Mona Lisa. Like all of a sudden he’s just mesmerized by the NESN logo? We have no idea what happened.”

Some members of the organization have come around to recognize the inevitability of Dell becoming the next Beane.

As one insider in the Dell camp points out, “In the early 1990s, the Red Sox replaced Sherm Feller with a woman (Lesley Sterling). Then, they had a few men do it. It’s time for a woman to take over again.”

Brainstorms are already in the works for the likelihood that the Red Sox eventually cave to Dell’s demands, including the idea of placing a camera in the PA announcer’s booth and filming Dell as she performs her duties throughout the game. “We’d likely condense footage from this ‘Booth Cam’ into a tidy 150-minute package that would be replayed on NESN during off-peak hours similiar to the Sox in Two wrap. One hundred and Fifty Minutes with Jenny Dell does have a ring to it. A high-definition DVD of highlights from the 2012 season could be in stores well before Christmas.”

One thing seems certain: Dell seems to have proven herself inseparable from the NESN microphone.

Observed one fan at Fenway on Wednesday night: “She carries that big old thing around with her everywhere huh? How can anyone think she was meant to be anything BUT Fenway’s PA gal? She is inseparable from the microphone. Go Jenny!”

NESN’s Orsillo shows up at camp in the worst shape of his career

NESN play-by-play man Don Orsillo politely refuses to step out of his car in the City of Palms Park parking lot until he’s finished all six of his Boston crème donuts—or, as he likes to call it, “breakfast.”

“Every last crumb. It’s a labor of love. Some days, I like to wash the donuts down with a couple of those Jolt colas,” Orsillo admits with a grin. “On those days, I’d say it’s more like a brunch. Hee hee…”

Once out of his car, Orsillo enlists one of the team’s on-field assistants to pick him up in a golf cart to carry him the remaining 50 yards between the parking lot and the entrance to the press box elevator—lest he risk burning precious calories by walking.

After disembarking from the beleaguered vehicle, several team employees coax Orsillo into flashing the newly acquired gut he worked so hard at achieving during the cold winter months.

Sheepishly, Orsillo obliges, lifting his golf polo up to his chest, revealing his massive abdomen.

Giggling, poking, slapping, tickling and general rough-housing ensue. Orsillo and his NESN teammates clearly enjoy a special camaraderie that defies tangibility or even any description coming close to having a semblance of coherent analysis.

Even at first glance, it is obvious to casual observers that Orsillo did not just stand pat this offseason. Red Sox coaches have already taken notice.

“He clearly rested on his laurels this offseason,” said general manager Theo Epstein. “You have to respect that. He knew he had a job locked up and he didn’t just go about it preparing the same way he always did during the past. He went out there and worked at carving out a new niche for himself this winter. In this game, you have to do that, otherwise you become replaceable.”

“I can’t even imagine he even looked at a treadmill this offseason,” said one hitting instructor. “I hope lethargy isn’t contagious…If it is, keep him away from my players.”

Orsillo, breathing heavily through his mouth, explains why he made changes to his conditioning routine this offseason.

“There’re always younger broadcasters coming up, giving your job the eye, gunning for your livelihood,” he says. “I want to make sure I stand out and I’m pretty sure no one is going to be able to ignore me like this.”

Sponsors have already taken notice. While Orsillo and partner Jerry Remy typically enjoy free Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and donuts during Red Sox home games, other local businesses hope to enter the fray in 2011.

“Papa Gino’s called me this morning,” Orsillo says. “They want me to eat a whole pepperoni pizza every night during the fifth inning. I immediately said ‘yes,’ obviously.”

Meanwhile, Orsillo will eat an entire crock pot of Legal Seafoods clam chowder twice per week during the 7th inning stretch.

Privately, NESN executives couldn’t be more excited or more optimistic about the upcoming 2011 campaign.

“Buckle up, if you can get the seatbelt around your torso,” said one NESN programming director. “This season is going to be one helluva ride.”

Release of Heidi Watney peephole video stalled by post-production hurdles

BOSTON–In an attempt to combat newly hired on-air talent and possibly parlay her local fame into a more fulfilling national gig, NESN on-field reporter Heidi Watney hopes to soon release a professionally produced voyeur-style video clip of herself undressing in a hotel room. Filming concluded several weeks ago and the video could make quite a media splash if, as planned, it is released just before the Red Sox begin playoff action early next month.

However, after hundreds of hours of excruciating post-production work, the timeline for the release of the viral video on the Interweb is in jeopardy due to a dispute between Watney and the film’s contracted distributor, Mortimer VonHoffstreuzen, say several members of the film’s production staff.

The major point of contention is VonHoffstreuzen’s insistence that Web sites hosting the four-minute video clip be required to pay a $10,000 fee for the rights to stream the file.

Watney believes that viewers should be able to access the file for free–especially because it was deliberately filmed with a low-quality web-cam in order to give the impression that it was made surreptitiously.

“Heidi is right,” says an industry analyst. “It’s folly to expect people would be willing to pay to watch this video when better-quality videos can be found everyday in every corner of the Internet absolutely free of charge. Viewers will simply go elsewhere to watch women undress, which would make it hard for any Web site to justify buying rights to this relatively soft-core entertainment.”

VonHoffstreuzen’s counterpoint is that Watney’s celebrity status makes the video premium, elite content that should merit payment for full access.

“This isn’t just any blond woman taking her clothes off,” says the distributor. “This is someone who is on the television, on the radio and who even writes her own blog for NESN.com. She is a star and it is insulting to compare her work in my film to that of any filthy skank with a web-cam.”

With NESN’s recent hiring of Newton native Jade McCarthy, an anchor/reporter cut very much from the same cloth as other female talent appearing on the station (Watney, Kathryn Tappen), Watney is said to be increasingly worried about the possibility that her colleagues may divert attention from her work.

“NESN is accumulating voluptuous blond bombshells faster than Clay Buchholz tears through trashy playmate girlfriends,” says someone close to Watney’s camp. “Competition for viewer affection could get pretty ugly once this new girl starts in January.”

Indeed, McCarthy won two Emmys last year for her sports coverage for NBC’s Philadelphia affiliate. The achievements could overshadow Watney’s work unless the incumbent on-field reporter manages to make a splash of her own.

A member of the film crew told Fenway Pastoral, “From a creative standpoint, I’m still trying to figure out how Heidi distinguishes herself from the millions of other clips that are posted on the Internet every day. I’m sure there’s a following for her work that will help sell the product if the film distributor has his way…But there’s a huge risk that people will feel alienated if it isn’t free.”

Francis Flynn, once believed to be Watney’s most devoted fan, was noncommital when asked if he would pay to watch a peephole video starring the NESN reporter.

Reached via CB radio while harvesting his cranberry bog in Carver, Flynn reasoned, “I already have hundreds of pictures of nude models in various poses with Heidi’s face photoshopped over the originals. For me, it seems like I’d be paying for recycled, repackaged content. Maybe they should come up with a better business plan.”

Local man is bored with Heidi Watney

CARVER, Mass.–Heavy rains recently transformed the rectangular plots of Francis Flynn’s cranberry bogs into dark, murky pools of standing water. The cloud cover above is so heavy that Flynn is forced to use a flashlight in mid-afternoon as he checks the engine of one of his tractors–one of several with a hanging Red Sox logo painted onto the front end. There is not much the cranberry harvester can do on rainy days aside from taking refuge in the dryness of his storage shed.
 
With summer’s dog days on the nearby horizon, the rainfall keeps his bogs nourished and healthy. The Red Sox are in first place and it should be a good year for cranberries. Yet Flynn still sighs as he organizes his shed’s tool rack.
 
“I wish I knew what was going on with Heidi. I’m bored with her,” Flynn says, shaking his head. “Last year, every time she was on camera felt like some momentous event. Lately, though? I’ve got to admit she hasn’t been doing it for me.”
 
After expressing strong hopesfor Watney’s sophomore season as NESN’s on-field personality in March, Flynn’s feelings toward the blond-haired reporter have cooled considerably.
 
“Yeah, of course I still think she’s attractive. It’s just seeing her two or three times a game? Every night, all summer long? I never thought I’d say this, but I’m looking forward to the All-Star Break next week. Will Erin Andrews be covering the Home Run Derby for ESPN again?”
 
Flynn is unable to pinpoint exactly what spawned his boredom, but offers some hard criticism of Watney’s wardrobe choices thus far in 2009.
 
“She’s wearing scarves and long sleeves on 70-degree days at the ballpark. That’s just plain wrong,” he said. “And there’s that one blue shirt that she wears about once or twice a week. I wish NESN had a rule where once Heidi wears something on air, it gets thrown away after the broadcast.”
 
Watney’s unchanging hair styling has also miffed Flynn over the first half of the 2009 season.
 
“She wears it the same way every night. I say curl it or put it in a ponytail or braid it or just do something different with it. She’s so stubborn. You know what it reminds me of? Papelbon’s insistence on throwing sliders lately. Maybe both of them have lost something off their fastballs…” 
 
Flynn measures his response carefully when asked if he would prefer Watney be replaced or temporarily spelled by colleague Kathryn Tappen.
 
“It’s not that I don’t think she can do it…I think she’s done a good job working the Bruins games and all that,” he says. “But it just seems like she’s a poor man’s Heidi. If I’m sick of Heidi, what’s Kathryn Tappen going to add at this point?”
 
The possibility of teaming both of them together briefly intrigues the pensive Flynn.
 
“You know, maybe. Heidi’s in a rut. The Sox’ bats are in a rut…It’s drastic, but maybe that’s what we need,” Flynn says. “A shake up of the lineup, so to speak.”
 
Still, the cranberry bogger hints at a clear departure from the ethnic diversity NESN once boasted. The Filipino-born and Canadian-reared Hazel Mae, former SportsDesk anchor, left the station last year and has since landed a gig with MLB Network.
 
“After Hazel left, they basically replaced her with some white guy who gives in-game updates,” laments Flynn. “I think I was less upset when Theo tried to replace Pedro Martinez with Matt Clement. You mean to tell me there haven’t been any other female Asian or Spanish television reporters looking for a job over the last year?”
 
A thunder shower moves through the area and drizzle gives way to a steady downpour. Flynn puts on his red rain jacket and fastens its hood around his head as he exits his tool shed. As the rain becomes heavier, Flynn realizes he has left the window to his tractor open and the driver’s side has become flooded with incoming rainwater. Cursing like a longshoreman, he angrily slams the door after rolling up the window.
 
“I hate to say it,” Flynn says as he peers up at the sky, “But I think Heidi’s time may be up.”

That’s enough, Dennis Eckersley

Please. No more. You’ve cussed on air. You’ve jinxed potential no-hitters. You’ve refused to expand your third-grade vocabulary. You’ve made it genuinely difficult to listen to an entire Red Sox game on television.

Even Tim McCarver is laughing at you. Poor Justin Masterson is still waiting for an apology for your confusing his namesake with a well-known verb for autoeroticism.  

Face it. You’re just not cut out to be sitting in a broadcast booth for a full nine innings. The Red Sox play a lot of long games and you lack the requisite stamina. Sure, you’ve gotten some national gigs for TBS in the past, but consistently providing insightful color analysis in a two-man booth isn’t for everybody. Take a cue from your brilliant pitching career and go back to closing out game broadcasts with your short, energized spurts of post-game analysis. Tell your NESN bosses you’re out of gas.

You often become noticeably annoyed by relief pitchers who refuse to throw fastballs down the middle of the plate during mop-up duty and non-save situations. You’ve apparently forgotten that these guys are pitching for their livelihood, facing professional hitters constantly trying to pad their stats. Some of these guys could hit a home run out of Dodger Stadium with half a swing of the bat. (Sorry, we didn’t mean that, bear with us.)

Your chemistry with play-by-play man Don Orsillo is unnatural—if not blatantly rife with unspoken tension. At first you were a novelty. It was cute the way you continuously used words like cheese and paint and salad over and over again. But poor Don has increasingly had to carry you to the finish line, leading you with questions about pitching in which you might respond with something intelligent, all the while keeping a cupped hand close by in case he has to muffle your latest F-bomb.

It must be tiresome for Don to hide his frustration as you struggle through reading mid-inning promotions, often sounding like a high schooler who forgot to take his Ritalin before English class. This is not meant to disparage you. We all get it. Any youngster with a talent to throw a baseball like you did would have had, at best, a casual relationship with phonics.  

Please do not worry about us viewers. As NESN awaits the return of Jerry Remy, Orsillo can do his best Vin Scully and man the booth alone. Orsillo already boasts some experience as a solo act, namely when Remy renders himself speechless during one of his classic, tangential giggle fits. Not that we’ll ever complain about Remy again… 

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Remy’s time off as he recovers from cancer has certainly made us all appreciate his consistent presence over the last 20 years. We long for a five-minute tirade about the inability of today’s players to execute a proper sacrifice bunt. We yearn for an explanation of how middle infielders decide who will cover second base in the event of a steal attempt. Heck, we’d be downright giddy to hear him predict yet another hit-and-run with Jason Varitek at the plate. We simply took for granted those little insights, too often tritely griping about Remy’s forced self-promotion of a persona contrived by publicists and marketing execs.

Now, karmic forces have left us with you, Dennis Eckersley. Please do not take this as ingratitude. Dave Roberts wasn’t exactly Bob Uecker in the booth, either. But let’s just say we won’t be too disappointed if you decide you want to head back to the Oakland A’s should a job opening become available. For old time’s sake, maybe the Coliseum will even blare George Thorogood’s Bad to the Bone as you make your return.

Local man would sleep with Heidi Watney

CARVER, Mass. — In a small, working class town known mainly as the pimple on the hindquarters of Plymouth county, the early morning sun beats down onto the pale green vines that lay flat over one of Francis Flynn’s many cranberry bogs.

Sheared wooden stems protrude from the green expanse, top-layered with vines cut dead under one of Flynn’s tractors last fall—days after the final out was recorded in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series in Tampa Bay.

After a brutal winter of ice, snow and sleet pelted, submerged and suffocated Flynn’s precious beds—on which cranberries will soon sleep—weeks of work are in store in order to prepare the fickle peat at the bottom of these marshy bogs before they are ready to reap a harvest of oblong diuretic red pellets. Tractors need to be serviced; weeds must be removed; beds must be fertilized. With his main assistant in court this morning after picking up a DUI early Saturday morning, Flynn, 38, is left to fend for himself on this chilly Monday morning.

Yet, gazing out over his bog while taking a long, deliberate swig of his 32-ounce Honey Dew coffee, Flynn only wants to talk about one thing.

“I would do Heidi Watney,” he says of NESN’s on-field reporter, when asked about the Boston nine’s prospects for the upcoming season. “I just want to get that outta the way right now. Anybody who the Captain would do, I would do. It’s as simple as that.”

After falling one game short of the World Series last fall, it appears Watney’s second year as team reporter will be a major storyline this spring and perhaps beyond as fans increasingly embrace her presence and impact on the team. Yet with the season opener closing in fast, it is a storyline that has fallen by the wayside.

“I was down at Sullivan’s Tap before the B’s game the other night. All anyone could talk about was ‘Tek’s ballpark adjusted OPP (sic), negative age 35-plus career arcs and batting average on balls put in play. I’m sick of talking about last year,” says Flynn. “The handwringing over offensive production? I don’t know, that ship sailed for me a long time ago.”

When Baseball Prospectus came out with its annual season projections in early February, Flynn admits being surprised there was no projection of “games worked” for Watney similar to the plate appearance forecasts BP provides for individual players. Once he took a closer look at the BP projections, however, Flynn put the omission into context.

“They (BP) got Youk batting .270 and Ortiz driving in only 89 ribs?,” he says. “Obviously anybody who thinks Lowell’s only gonna hit 15 dongs isn’t too much of an expert.”

He defers when asked to give his take on the durability questions about David Ortiz and Mike Lowell heading into the season. Indeed, other than his cranberry bogs, only one thing seemed to be on Flynn’s mind as spring training nears its conclusion.

“That kind of dirty blond hair and blue eyes? The sleeveless tops she wears on those hot, humid days at the park…Yeah, I’d say I’m a fan.”

The start of a Red Sox season is always exciting, especially for fans curious about the assimilation of key figures in the clubhouse. For younger prospects and rising stars, the sophomore season’s success or failure has become a cliché in itself.

“You look at a guy like Youk in 2005 or Dustin last year…the second full year in the league is always a big leap,” Flynn asserts. “I’m worried she may get a little too comfortable after last year. I hope she got some new outfits…”

Because of Watney’s late start last season (she did not begin reporting on games until May), the case can be made that this year will be more challenging as she attempts to prove she can survive a full season’s workload.

“She’s kind of like the guy who’s only had a few hundred at bats,” Flynn says. “The sample size may not be big enough yet to prove she’s the real deal. Like I said, though, I would do her. I’m a big fan.”

For lifelong Red Sox fans like Flynn, staying power is an important attribute for the on-field reporter position. The organization has become increasingly frustrated at what has become, in recent years, a turn-style spot in the order akin to shortstop. While the able-bodied Tina Cervasio was a solid temporary solution, her advanced age and fleeting dedication to the job motivated the Red Sox to find a younger, rising star who they could groom in their own image.

And for salt-of-the-earth fans like Flynn, Cervasio’s married status was somewhat unbecoming of an on-field reporter.

“Watching baseball has to be about more than just pitching, hitting and defense. I like seeing women on TV who I have a chance with,” says Flynn. “If I want to look at a girl I can’t sleep with, I’ll flip over to one of those MTV reality shows and pretend the flicker is acting up if my wife comes into the den.”

Count Flynn among the many Red Sox fans who believe NESN should televise more spring training contests in Florida. The station will air a total of nine games over the course of six weeks as the team prepares for the regular season.

“It’s really not enough for fans like me. I’m a diehard and after a 12-hour day out on the cranberry bog, all I want to do is crack a cold one and watch Heidi.”

Flynn also raised his concern that less televised games in March means Watney will be shaking off any residual rust at the beginning of April.

“If she’s bumbling around out there like Dustin in April 2007, they’re going to regret it.”

With this warning, Flynn reinserts his new camouflage Red Sox ‘hanging sox’ logo cap onto his head and excuses himself, heading back to his toolshed. He has fields to sow and his musings have left him behind on the day already as the 7 a.m. sunbeams have risen their way over the oak trees that surround Flynn’s bogs. If the weather cooperates and Flynn does his job right, his plants will yield red, pick-able berries in early October. The Red Sox may very well be in the playoffs by then. But all that is a long away for Flynn. The early spring preparation process must go on and the tail end of winter just got a little warmer for Flynn as he returns to work, thinking of easy-going summer nights.